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Gay Rights Groups Outraged By Obama DOJ's DOMA Brief

The Justice Department filed a brief today (available here) in a federal case in California. Gay rights groups are outraged.

This week, the Obama administration is facing the ire of gay rights groups after it filed a brief in California federal court defending the Defense of Marriage Act and calling it a "valid exercise of Congress' power" that is saving taxpayers money.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. It doesn't prohibit same-sex marriages; instead, it says that no state "shall be required" to honor same-sex marriages taking place elsewhere or any "right or claim arising from such relationship."

Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, the ACLU and other groups issued a joint statement today blasting the filing: [More...]

We disagree with many of the administration’s arguments, for example that DOMA is a valid exercise of Congress’s power, is consistent with Equal Protection or Due Process principles, and does not impinge upon rights that are recognized as fundamental.

We are also extremely disturbed by a new and nonsensical argument the administration has advanced suggesting that the federal government needs to be “neutral” with regard to its treatment of married same-sex couples in order to ensure that federal tax money collected from across the country not be used to assist same-sex couples duly married by their home states. There is nothing “neutral” about the federal government’s discriminatory denial of fair treatment to married same-sex couples: DOMA wrongly bars the federal government from providing any of the over one thousand federal protections to the many thousands of couples who marry in six states. This notion of “neutrality” ignores the fact that while married same-sex couples pay their full share of income and social security taxes, they are prevented by DOMA from receiving the corresponding same benefits that married heterosexual taxpayers receive.

The state of California has also filed a motion to dismiss the case (brief available here.)

I've had several e-mails from non-lawyer readers asking for my analysis. I'm just now beginning to read the brief. If anyone else has thoughts on it, I hope you'll post them in comments.

Update: From the DOJ brief, here are some of its arguments:

...[P]laintiffs cannot rely on a "right to privacy" to supersede DOMA, for as explained above, a "fundamental" right to same-sex marriage has not been recognized as such by the courts. ...Further, as also explained above, even if same-sex marriage had been acknowledged as a fundamental right, there would still be no "fundamental" right to receive federal benefits based on a gay or lesbian marriage, or to require other States to recognize such a marriage.
One particularly controversial section of the brief is this:
Congress could reasonably decide that federal benefits funded by taxpayers throughout the nation should not be used to foster a form of marriage that only some States recognize, and that other States do not.

....The constitutional propriety of Congress's decision to decline to extend federal benefits immediately to newly recognized types of marriages is bolstered by Congress's articulated interest in preserving the scarce resources of both the federal and State governments. DOMA ensures that evolving understandings of the institution of marriage at the State level do not place greater financial and administrative obligations on federal and state benefits programs. Preserving scarce government resources and deciding to extend benefits incrementally are well-recognized legitimate interests under rational-basis review.

This won't go over well either:
Section 3 of DOMA merely clarifies that federal policy is to make certain benefits available only to those persons united in heterosexual marriage, as opposed to any other possible relationship defined by law, family, or affection. As a result, gay and lesbian individuals who unite in matrimony are denied no federal benefits to which they were entitled prior to their marriage; they remain eligible for every benefit they enjoyed beforehand. DOMA simply provides, in effect, that as a result of their same-sex marriage they will not become eligible for the set of benefits that Congress has reserved exclusively to those who are related by the bonds of heterosexual marriage.
And while the Brief repeatedly says gay marriage is not the issue, it includes this passage that I think clearly shows the Administration's position on the topic:
In short, then, the failure in this manner to recognize a certain subset of marriages that are recognized by a certain subset of States cannot be taken as an infringement on plaintiffs' rights, even if same-sex marriage were accepted as a fundamental right under the Constitution.

...[R]egardless of whether same-sex marriage is appropriate policy, under current legal precedent there is no constitutional right to it, and that precedent is binding on these parties and this Court. While the Supreme Court has held that the right to marry is "fundamental," Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374, 383-87, 98 S. Ct. 673, 54 L.Ed.2d 618 (1978), that right has not been held to encompass the right to marry someone of the same sex.

Update: Here's Obama during the campaign on civil unions and gay marriage.

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    Thanks for the CA motion (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:18:10 PM EST
    It seems to plant its feet in standing. Fine, that's annoying, but not insulting.

    The government's motion, OTOH, is highly insulting. This is, for my money, the most infuriating passage:

    Loving v. Virginia is not to the contrary.  There the Supreme Court rejected a contention that the assertedly "equal application" of a statute prohibiting interracial marriage immunized the statute from strict scrutiny.  388 U.S. 1, 8, 87 S.Ct. 1817, 18 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1967).  The Court had little difficulty concluding that the statute, which applied only to "interracial marriages involving white persons," was "designed to maintain White Supremacy" and therefore unconstitutional.  Id. at 11. No comparable purpose is present here, however, for DOMA does not seek in any way to advance the "supremacy" of men over women, or of women over men.


    Doesn't it advance the "supremacy" of (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:48:35 PM EST
    straights over gays?

    Parent
    In my opinion, yes (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:55:26 PM EST
    That's a pretty darn defensible opinion. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Faust on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:53:10 PM EST
    What a horrifically embarassing bit of logic they demonstrate there.

    Parent
    It reads to me like bad faith willful (none / 0) (#33)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:01:11 PM EST
    ignorance.

    Parent
    Willful ignorance? (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:06:29 PM EST
    I'd say that's generous.

    Parent
    I'm not sure if it's worse (none / 0) (#35)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:11:43 PM EST
    if they actually believe it.

    Parent
    I'm going to go with they do (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:32:39 PM EST
    much easier than "hoping" they don't. He's said/done enough, that I don't see him suddenly getting all pro-active on the rights front. We might get some crumbs tossed our way in oh, 2011, but his actions have been pretty clear regarding women and LGBT.  

    Parent
    And under that reasoning (5.00 / 9) (#14)
    by BDB on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:14:44 PM EST
    states could outlaw interracial marriages so long as they did it for everybody.  I haven't read the entire brief - and I have a hard time believing anyone would say that - but that appears to be what the passage you quote argues.  

    Gee, who could've known that a guy who had a homophobic singer fundraise for him and chose to have his first debate with McCain at Rick Warren's church would turn out not to be all that supportive of gay rights? Shocking!

    (Note - none of the major candidates for president got the gay marriage issue right, but Obama was the only one that I recall embracing homophobes during the election.)

    Parent

    Like you, I can't imagine why this (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 05:38:56 PM EST
    would come as a surprise to anyone.

    Homophobes fund raising for him, IIRC "Cure the Gays" ministers as part of his faith outreach group, debate at Rich Warren's church and Obama refusing to have his picture taken with Gavin at the fundraiser that he held for Obama.

    Surprise, surprise?? Obama won't do anything to reverse DOMA or DADT.

    Parent

    Sure, but his statements to the gay (none / 0) (#16)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:32:22 PM EST
    community said otherwise.

    Out and out liar?

    Parent

    Politician (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by denise k on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:49:18 PM EST
    That said, the answer to your question is "yes".

    Parent
    Bill Clinton is a consummate politician, but he (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by jawbone on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:53:17 PM EST
    stuck to his campaign promises, per Kathleen Hall Jamison. She said on NOW, when Bill Moyers was the main host, that Bill Clinton enacted or implemented --or tried to enact/implement but was thwarted by the Congress-- every promise he made during his run for the presidency. Or, if he had to change, he explained clearly why he did so.

    (I know, gotta find a link--but, really, she did say that and it's stuck with me all these years.)

    There are pols who don't make empty promises.

    There are pols who do.

    Parent

    Bill Clinton is a consummate politician, but he (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by jawbone on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:53:17 PM EST
    stuck to his campaign promises, per Kathleen Hall Jamison. She said on NOW, when Bill Moyers was the main host, that Bill Clinton enacted or implemented --or tried to enact/implement but was thwarted by the Congress-- every promise he made during his run for the presidency. Or, if he had to change, he explained clearly why he did so.

    (I know, gotta find a link--but, really, she did say that and it's stuck with me all these years.)

    There are pols who don't make empty promises.

    There are pols who do.

    Parent

    How did DOMA go from being (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:00:37 PM EST
    "abhorrent" during the campaign, to so innocuous that the Obama DOJ is now defending it?

    Someone needs to ask him that question.  Just be aware that if he starts off his answer with, "as I have always said," he's doing the ol' okie-doke on you - or is it the bamboozle?

    Even before the convention (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Cards In 4 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:11:45 PM EST
    Obama started to change his positions.  His FISA flip flop was in July and was a big sign that he knew his supporters were not going to move to McCain on national security or gay rights issues.

    But now he's president and not campaigning so what's his excuse?

    Parent

    Not campaigning? (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by jmacWA on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:15:22 AM EST
    He hasn't stopped campaigning, and wont until he can no longer gain elective office.

    Parent
    Well, look (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:32:23 PM EST
    is the opening that always tells me an excuse is about to be spilled.

    What kept me from falling for him during the campaign was the knowledge he had never experienced enough of real, serious, hard politics on a level that would allow him to know enough about the issues to have a solid stand on the issues. It takes real commitment to something to form the kind of solid foundation a successful leader needs. We can hardly hold him to campaign speeches written by others, now, can we?


    Parent

    Oh, and there's also: (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:48:30 PM EST
    "Let me be perfectly clear..."

    and

    "The notion that..."

    But you're right - the "well, look..." is usually a sign that whatever follows is pure BS.

    For the life of me I just do not understand how people could ever have fallen so hard and so completely for this guy.  All the signs were there.  It still boggles my mind.

    Parent

    No, it's "Let me be clear" (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Spamlet on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 02:06:45 AM EST
    "Perfectly clear" was Nixon. At this writing, Obama's not that bad.

    Parent
    Ooh - I forgot one: (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:52:27 AM EST
    "Make no mistake..."

    Rhetorical style or rhetorical "tells?"

    The $64,000 question.

    Parent

    Yeah, but in all fairness, ... (none / 0) (#65)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 10:01:55 AM EST
    ... he hasn't adopted a Texas "twang" when using that one.

    God, that used to grate on my nerves.

    Parent

    And (none / 0) (#66)
    by jbindc on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 10:05:19 AM EST
    "As I've said before"

    (and to be fair, a Texas twang is much easier to listen to than a New York / New Jersey or New England accent)

    Parent

    To each his own ... (none / 0) (#67)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 10:45:46 AM EST
    I can't stand heavy NY accents, but only a small part of northern NJ has the same/similar accents, and most of those are NY transplants.

    That being said, I'll take a New England accent any day over hear a POTUS that can't say the word "nuclear".

    Parent

    True (none / 0) (#88)
    by jbindc on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 03:13:58 PM EST
    But Bill Clinton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter (who trained to be engineering officer on a nuclear submarine) also said it that way.

    Parent
    Actually, I've heard ... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:24:34 AM EST
    Obama use it too, on several occasions.

    Parent
    The motion of DOJ (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:10:27 PM EST
    to dismiss the federal same sex marriage case seems to be one issue to discuss with, perhaps, the argument the situation as presented  was not yet legally ripe.  However, the set of briefs filed along with the motion are simply horrific.  In my opinion, the briefs may have been too blatant and brazen even for Bush.  The briefs, among their many outrages,  discounted the importance of Romer v Evans in which the Supreme Court struck down Colorado's infamous Amendment 2.  Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority in that case, stated that the only real explanation for that amendment was animus toward the class it affects. Curiously, the tenor of the briefs in the instant case resonate with the homophobic screed of Justice Scalia in what was passed off in Romer as a dissent.  

    Scalia's dissent in Romer (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:21:22 PM EST
    settles the question on him as far as I'm concerned. He is clearly a bigot.

    Parent
    agreed (none / 0) (#116)
    by jlambert446 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:23:18 AM EST
    I totally agree with you here!

    Jerry
    __
    assurance habitation

    Parent

    please try too understand it's not suposed too be (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by legacy71081 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:23:00 PM EST
    please understand it's not supposed to be that simple. the man said he wanted too repeal d.o.m.a. not ignore it. we just had 8 years of a president who made his own rules in spite of the letter of the law. the d.o.j. enforces the law congress writes it. i know it sucks but if he just does what he want's then his successor can just undo it and so on. i strongly support the repeal of d.o.m.a but until it is repealed or ruled unconstitutional the d.o.j. must defend it as it would any other law. that being said don't hold his feet too the fire for defending it in court that's his job. hold his feet to the fire too take it too congress instead

    tell that to the gay couples... (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by mexboy on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:34:22 PM EST
    ...who pay taxes like everyone else and are now told by Obama that their marriages are inferior and as such they must keep paying their taxes to support the superior heterosexual married couples rights and privileges under marriage.

    Parent
    Married Gays and taxes (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 08:52:58 AM EST
    Gay married couples do not pay taxes like anyone else: they cannot file federal taxes as married, and thus usually pay more tax.

    Parent
    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Spamlet on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:41:38 AM EST
    Moreover, as pointed out before, if your same-sex spouse is covered by your employer's health insurance, his or her insurance coverage is considered part of your income, so you are taxed on its value, whereas health insurance extended to an opposite-sex spouse is considered pretax income and is therefore not taxed. (I've had the experience of seeing a modest, hard-earned raise wiped out by the tax on my spouse's health insurance.)

    And if your same-sex spouse dies, you are not entitled to his or her social security payments no matter how long you were together, whereas you can collect social security from a deceased heterosexual spouse to whom you were married for five minutes.

    So who's enjoying "special rights" here?

    Parent

    I am and it's good advise (none / 0) (#28)
    by legacy71081 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:47:44 PM EST
    take it too congress hold Obamas feet too the fire too make a change that will last one that will count real change takes time fast change can be overturned in 6 months just ask california it sucks but it's part of living in a democracy.3 branches not one i know it's hard too remember that after bush but that's the way it's supposed too work

    Parent
    You need (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:53:52 PM EST
    to go over to Aravosis' blog and see exactly why people are so peeved.  It's not about supporting the law, it's about the cases included in supporting it....and who wrote the DOJ brief.  This is clearly not the brief that would be written by someone who plans to repeal the law

    http://www.americablog.com

    Parent

    i know but that's what lawers do (none / 0) (#36)
    by legacy71081 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:23:50 PM EST
    i understand i read the same thing on daily kos but the context matters. this case is about other whether state a has too recognize state cs' marriage even though it's not legal in state a so they are pulling out relevant cases where state a has been proven too not have too recognize state cs' marriage the briefs weren't written by somebody who was planning on repealing the law they were written by a lawyer who was planning on presenting a case as for the person who wrote it who better than somebody who believes in it too defend it lawyers don't argue the spirit of the law they argue the letter of it fact vs fact eliminate the law eliminate the problem but that's not something the executive branch can do that's all I'm saying all that being said i despise this law http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/12/741817/-Obama-on-DOMA:-He-IS-Keeping-A-Promise

    Parent
    Lots of precedent (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:32:18 PM EST
    for not arguing the case so vigorously... especially if your ultimate plan is to repeal the law....See Aravosis again.

    Parent
    Not true (none / 0) (#37)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:31:18 PM EST
    If an administration believes a law is unconstitutional, they are under no obligation to defend it.  To the contrary, I would argue just the opposite.  In fact, Reagan, Bush (I and II) and Clinton all opposed laws they believed to be unconstitutional.

    Parent
    and they were out of line (none / 0) (#41)
    by legacy71081 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:39:28 PM EST
    it's not there place too decide what's constitutional and what's not that's what the supreme court is for that's what congress is for the can legislate too change it but if they do it unilaterally then in 4 years u lose all rights because here comes the scare tactics and pat robertson jr is president i'm not trying too be disrespectful with this post we are all on the same side but this is the most direct link i could find http://www.congressforkids.net/Constitution_threebranches.htm

    Parent
    Congress for Kids? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:28:07 PM EST
    Seriously???

    Trial judges (not SC justices), prosecutors, governors and Presidents do it all the time.  While they cannot create law, they're not required to argue or enforce positions that they believe are clearly unconstitutional while waiting for the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the law.

    Take a hypothetical case of a legislature passing a clearly unconstitutional law, say ..... requiring people to attend a Christian church.  A governor/POTUS would not be required to argue in favor of the law until repealed by a subsequent legislature or overturned by the SC.

    BTW - A little punctuation might make your posts a little easier to understand.

    Parent

    That's my source of irritation. (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Jake Left on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:38:12 PM EST
    Just why did they feel the need to argue for pages and pages to support a law that they say they want repealed. Why not just shut the hell up. Or even better, simply say that the DOJ can find no real justification for the law.

    All this "his hands are tied" crap is really getting old.

    Parent

    Lambert's refrain, "and we get?" (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:47:03 PM EST
    seems apt here.

    Parent
    Like I said above (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by nycstray on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:00:49 AM EST
    crumbs in 2011.

    At least the next time he's out there campaigning he'll have a record to defend . . .

    Parent

    You don't have to run (none / 0) (#53)
    by Fabian on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 05:20:39 AM EST
    on your record.

    When Ken Blackwell ran for governor in Ohio, I prayed for him to run on his record.  The response ads would have written themselves.

    Alas, without a primary opponent, Obama doesn't need to defend his record unless his general election opponent is notably gay friendly.  (Note: I didn't say "Republican opponent".)

    Parent

    Thanks for the push (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by lambert on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:29:46 PM EST
    Why? (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by lambert on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 08:34:39 AM EST
    Isn't the simplest explanation that they really believe it?

    Parent
    Yes (5.00 / 5) (#72)
    by fiver2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:22:54 AM EST
    I'm getting sick of people saying that Obama feels differently in his secret heart, all evidence to the contrary.  Isn't it time we start listening to his REAL friends, like Donnie McClurkin, Douglas Kmiec (who was one of the panel of 3 faith leaders who did a national tour campaigning for Obama, and who submits the most offensive hateful briefs full of lies about gay families in marriage equality cases around the country), and Rick Warren?

    Parent
    Same here. It really bothers and worries (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:17:53 PM EST
    me a lot on gay issues and women's issues, too, that Obama in the campaign and since, and his minions as well, seem to go out of their way to be offensive.  And it's particularly striking in that we certainly have seen that he and his minions sure know how to waffle when they want to do so.  

    And don't forget to add, to the list of his friends above, that Obama made sure that the Dem convention would open not only with a minister -- but with one who used the occasion to denounce the Dem party for its official stance on abortion.  Yet so many people who seemed otherwise sensible were so taken by styrofoam pillars and other marketing ploys that they didn't pay attention at all -- they chose not to pay attention -- to that and so many other clear signs in the campaign that the Dem party was done.

    Parent

    sorry for my typos (none / 0) (#43)
    by legacy71081 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:45:54 PM EST
    i'm gettin tired it's been fun but i gotta get up early tomorrow i'll stay on for 10 mins too hear anybody out but i'm done talking.....for now:)

    Parent
    What law (none / 0) (#42)
    by Steve M on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:43:38 PM EST
    did the Clinton DOJ fail to defend?

    Parent
    18 U.S.C. 3501 (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:10:25 PM EST
    ... and whether a voluntary confession may be admitted into evidence in the government's case-in-chief under 18 U.S.C. 3501, notwithstanding that the confession was taken in violation of Miranda.  Dickerson v. United States.

    Parent
    Also, ... (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:23:15 AM EST
    Clinton's DOJ refused to defend the abortion speech-related provisions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, and a law mandating criminal penalties for giving paid Medicaid planning advice, among others.

    Parent
    i'm not sure (3.00 / 2) (#44)
    by legacy71081 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:59:26 PM EST
    i don't know of any laws he refused too defend but I'm going too bed thank you all for the conversation and have a good night

    Parent
    That whole (none / 0) (#68)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 10:52:03 AM EST
    "he had to defend" thing is almost a strawman.

    There is "defend"

    and then there is
    **DEEEEEEEEEFENDDDDDDDDDD**

    Obama chose the latter.  And yeah, I know, Obama didn't chose anything...because nothing is ever his fault.

    We have plenty of evidence of kinder and gentler defense, and in the case of the Microsoft antitrust settlement, kinder, and gentler enforcement.

    Parent

    Finishing (4.50 / 2) (#69)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 10:53:17 AM EST
    DOJ's don't have to vigorously defend or enforce anything if they don't want to.

    Parent
    Hahahahahaha! (none / 0) (#106)
    by masslib on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 06:25:22 AM EST
    That's not true.  DOJ does not have to defend DOMA.

    Parent
    Sad to say I'm not surprised (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by mexboy on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:27:55 PM EST
    I was hoping against hope that I was wrong about Obama, but as it turns out I wasn't.

    Moveon and all the gay people who excused the anti gay people Obama campaigned with, and then got behind him, shouldn't be surprised he is defending DOMA and DADT.  They got the president they wanted and now they must live with it.

    I have no sympathy for them.

    If you read (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:33:11 PM EST
    comments on other blogs, the intention is 11th dimensional chess... People just need to be patient! LOL.

    funniest darn thing. (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by cpinva on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 03:26:30 AM EST
    i remember very clearly (i wrote letters to the editor of the local newspaper, and became, briefly, the local anti-christ) when DOMA was in the legislative stage, it was all about same-sex marriage. absent that, and it was a solution in search of a problem.

    to argue otherwise now is, at best, disengenuous, at worst, a bald faced lie. DOMA (not unlike the DEA), had no legitimate reason for its creation, and none for its continued existence.

    just another (in a continuing series) example of why i didn't trust obama during the primaries.

    The Microsoft Antitrust Case (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 08:07:14 AM EST
    is a nice case study in how 2 administrations deal with one argued case.

    Essentially, the Democrats under Clinton wanted stiff penalties, the Republicans under Bush were much kinder, gentler, and some state reps argued that their settlement made Microsoft stronger, not weaker.

    Here's a Wikipedia article:
    Link

    The whole idea that, well, the Obama Administration had to defend the case, is ridiculous.  There are kind, gentle ways to defend a case that you don't agree with.

    Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin would be proud... (5.00 / 7) (#57)
    by lambert on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 08:32:59 AM EST
    ... so kwitcherbellyachin.

    Nobody could have predicted...

    I don't understand why we give (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:11:32 PM EST
    tax breaks to people who are married.

    Personally, I'd like to start a movement to repeal those tax breaks.

    Marriage equality would mean (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:17:16 PM EST
    so much more than just tax breaks. It would remove additional taxation, such as when a person adds a spouse to the deed of their home. Gays & lesbian couples who are legally married have to pay taxes on their equity in the property, straight married couples don't. Or when an employer offers health benefits to partners - the straight people get it free and clear while gays and lesbians pay taxes on it as if it were income.

    Social Security - gays and lesbians pay into social security, which is insurance as well as a retirement program. But if one parent dies, their legal children cannot collect on the insurance policy their deceased parent paid for during their working life.

    The 1000+ other benefits don't need to be listed here, but clearly the issue of fairness and constitutional protections is much more than just tax breaks. And if you want to work on eliminating marital tax advantages, feel free to go do so. Presenting it here as if what gay and lesbian citizens want isn't something that should be granted to anyone is belittling of the anguish many families face due to this institutionalized discrimination.  

    Parent

    I know. (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:27:53 PM EST
    Honestly, were I gay, my greatest concern would be in being allowed to make decisions for my partner in emergencies and on healthcare - and their being able to do the same for me.

    But I still don't understand why we give tax breaks to married couples.  I mean what really makes married people so much more important than the rest of us anyway?  Why must we pair off with people of the opposite sex in order to realize financial rewards from our government?

    Parent

    An advance directive and a (3.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 02:04:25 PM EST
    durable general power of attorney solve the problem of making medical and financial decisions - and these are things people - all people - should have anyway, because you never know what your circumstances will be when someone needs to make these kinds of decisions.  

    I found this out with my aunt, whose husband was making decisions - albeit some pretty bad and shady ones - for her, but when he died at the end of 2008, she was not competent to name anyone to act on her behalf.  My brother and I ended up having to file petitions for guardianship and conservatorship in order to have the authority to act, and that was not official until February.  We were lucky that the nursing home recognized that we were her next of kin - she had no children - but I could not pay her bills or file claims for life insurance or do anything financial until the court said we could.

    You pose a good question, though, about why one has to be married to get certain benefits.  I think it's one of those old (very old) public good/public interest things rooted in the belief that married is better than single and "certainly" better for having children - children who, once their parents were old and in need of care, would be more likely to take care of their parents instead of placing that burden on the government.

    It's a prime example of legislating morality - at least for the time - and for many people, it is apparently still too scary to contemplate that "married and heterosexual" does not always equal "moral."

    I think we have a long way to go, still, in getting us all on equal footing; maybe if we could move the dinosaurs out of the Congress, we might be able to make more progress - but even with a young-ish president, it seems like there is still resistance.

    Parent

    You are wrong about advanced (4.00 / 1) (#97)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:04:23 PM EST
    directives and powers of attorney.

    Sorry.  In theory you may be right, but in practice you're wrong.

    I've cared for three sick relatives in the past 15 years and it is not easy when you are a blood relative - in fact it is so difficult that we were lucky that I was actually home when they delivered my dying Grandmother to her house because HIPA is so outrageous that a person can't talk to a doc - instead you have to lobby the nurses' station for information that they are by law not allowed to give you.  I can't imagine being a gay partner on top of all of the other obstacles that already exist.

    Parent

    Sorry - I work in the area of estate (none / 0) (#99)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 10:17:06 PM EST
    planning and trust and estate administration and I know that an advance directive and powers of attorney DO work and must be honored.  We even have an attachment to the advance directive that specifically directs health care providers to give any and all information to the person and/or persons selected by the individual.

    Any person who is competent may verbally give permission to health care providers to speak with and disclose information to whomever the individual names.

    Every hospital I have ever been in has asked if I had a directive and if I had it with me so they could include it with my chart - they don't ask for it if they do not intend to honor it.

    In the absence of directives and powers of attorney, and in the event someone is not competent or is otherwise unable to state who will make decisions, health care providers have no choice but to take their direction from next of kin - who can then decide who will and will not be given information about the individual in question.

    I've been doing this for a long time, and I think I know what the deal is; I'm sorry you had so much difficulty, but I can assure you that health care providers are bound to follow properly prepared documentation, and/or the specific verbal permission from the individual.

    Parent

    Thanks for feeling sorry for me, (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 12:27:11 PM EST
    but that wasn't really the point.  Try finding the person in charge to present them with your legal paperwork before they make all of the critical decisions.

    My Grandmother was in heart failure when they sent her home.  She was in no condition to do that alone so of course they sent her in an ambulance - but they didn't bother to call her son - my father - to alert him to prepare for her release - hell - they didn't even check to see if she had a house key - which she did not - when they sent her home.  They were lucky that I called the hospital just before I left her house to go see her or they would have been standing outside of a locked house with an old lady who died two days later.  I have more of these stories.  My father is a lawyer, we have several family estate lawyers - I've worked in and around the healthcare industry for 20 years - we are, I would say, better informed about what our rights are in our sometimes roles as family member's patient advocates - and yet this system that looks so orderly on paper is in reality chaotic, quixotic and in many ways - so many ways - highly dysfunctional.

    Here's another example...  At least in the early 1990's when I was caring for my Grandfather during his last few months of life, I was instructed not to call the fire department if he went into critical condition because even though my Grandfather had signed a DNR they would not honor it.  I asked if they would if I showed it to them and the lawyer, the Hospice nurses and social workers all agreed that even if the DNR were pasted on his chest the firemen would disrgard it and attempt recusitation.  I also talked to the firemen about this theory v. practice problem because I had to call them a couple of times to help me get my Grandfather off of the floor when he'd decided to go walking without asking me for help.  They were all really nice guys and actually asked if my Grandfather had a DNR - and when I told them that he did - they told me unsolicited that I should not call when he passed because they'd just have to beat him up trying to save him.  So again theory v. practice doesn't line up.  Fortunately, when that time came there was a nurse present to confirm the death because I would have been tempted to call my friends at the fire department had I been alone when it happened.

    Parent

    Why would you call the EMT's (none / 0) (#113)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:09:31 PM EST
    for someone with a DNR?  That makes no sense.

    As for your grandmother, it doesn't sound to me like the problem was with the paperwork, but with lack of communication with the hospital.  I had an uncle who was about to be unceremoniously discharged and sent home - and we, his only family, lived out of state.  The doctors didn't give a damn, but the social worker did - and she was the one who stalled on the release until we could arrange - with her help - for him to go to a rehab center from the hospital.  And my uncle, by the way, wanted to go home, so we actually made a decision contrary to his wishes - although I think he must have eventually - if grudgingly - agreed.

    And we had no paperwork at all - no advance directive - just the clearly noted information in his chart that we were to be kept in the loop.

    By the way, I wasn't feeling sorry for you - I thought I was expressing consideration for whatever you had been through.  Getting my head bitten off for doing so means I might have to think twice before I do that again.

    Parent

    I am not trying to bite your head off. (none / 0) (#114)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 05:50:03 PM EST
    Just saying that the reality doesn't always fall in line with the laws etc.  My lawyer father would have actually laughed at that remark.  That's how we debate - sorry to offend.

    As for your identifying the problem as a problem with communication, you are on target, but the communication lines are paramount to the objective of getting these advanced directives honored - therefore my assertion that they are nice in theory, but often provide no guarantee in reality still stands because of the lack of communication among other things.  It helps though when you can stomp your feet at a critical moment and claim the rights of a relative - like a spouse, parent, sibling or even grandchild.  Without standing, what is already really hard becomes nearly impossible unless you are willing to lie or find just one sympathetic nurse or social worker willing to take certain risks on your family's behalf.

    Finally, and importantly, the reason that someone might consider callinng emergency services when someone in the house dies - even when the death is anticipated - might have something to do with them being 29 years old with no experience with death or what to do when someone dies - much less the ability conceive of what one should do in the middle of the night with a dead body - just generally not having a clue what to do - and needing some guidance.  Fortunately, I had two things working for me - one was my other Grandmother who is the person I talked about in the other story who explained to me that even if it happened in the middle of the night and I was alone that it would be "okay" and that I could call her if I needed to - and when it did indeed happen, the fabulous and wonderful Hospice people had anticipated the death 24 hours in advance so that I was able to get my Mother to be there and they had provided 24 hour nursing care - so in the end - I was not alone with him when he died  AND more importantly I had people telling me that he was indeed dead and that there was nothing I should be doing for him.  It mattered to me.  I spent the first month with him thinking that if I sneezed, I might kill him - partly because of the nursing service I had to fire for telling him that he would get better from inoperable rare not metasticized liver cancer when he was 89.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do or how I would react.  I was basically a kid at that point in my life with no practical experience in any of that stuff.  I can understand perfectly why someone who was totally alone would need to call the emergency folks - it would be for them as much as anyone - if not moreso.  People need support systems and I can't blame them for trying to find someone they think have more expertise than they do at a moment as significant as the moment of death.

    Parent

    Two words: Legal challenges n/t (none / 0) (#109)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:51:03 AM EST
    The state has a valid interest in (none / 0) (#83)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:50:08 PM EST
    regulating marriage, according to the courts. Concerns range from preventing close relatives and those with venereal diseases from procreating, to providing an environment conducive to childrearing, including ensuring financial responsibility for children. Clearly those interests aren't necessarily tied to marriage, but that is a different story.

    I hope you'll go research and comment elsewhere on straight marriage benefits instead of hijacking the thread on Obama's support of an unjust and unconstitutional law.

    Parent

    You're so off base. (none / 0) (#98)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:06:14 PM EST
    So totally off base about what my position is and what I am saying.  I'll leave it at that.

    Parent
    I just don't think the issue (none / 0) (#101)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:28:50 PM EST
    of how married people are supported more than single people is relevant to gays wanting equality. That's like talking about polygamy every time gay marriage is discussed. The two aren't related, and bringing up other perceived injustices sidelines the discussion.

    Gays and lesbians were just dealt a huge blow from our government. This thread and others are a good place to vent some pain and anger and brainstorm solutions. Not trying to criticize you, I'm just frustrated at the lack of support from straight liberals who don't seem inspired to talk about the problem.

    Parent

    Me, I have little patience for (none / 0) (#102)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 05:19:21 PM EST
    discrimination whoever the target of it is.  I am tired of fundies and the fear of fundies driving US Government policy and legislation.  I am tired of people getting special dispensation for their "piety" from our government.  I do not  believe in special classes of people unless of course they require additional assistance that others do not.  Married people don't require a tax break for being married.  It is not more expensive to me married - it is mostly less expensive.  So what's up with these "incentives"??  Religious institutions and their "pious" politicians.  

    As to the specifics of this legal argument, you've no idea how angry this showing on the part of the Obama Administration makes me.  I find it outrageous and disgusting.

    I am sorry that gay folks are not my only issue here.  I have a more generalized view of these things than you do.  I actually care about everyone being treated equally and fairly in our country.  It is funny how annoying that can be to specific minority groups including my own.  If you're not expressing myopic despair about one disenfranchised group, some people get offended.  You'd be smarter to count me as an ally than not though, but it is your choice.

    Years ago, I had a guy get in my face insisting that I care that he was gay.  I couldn't care less.  You're either nice or not, smart or not, honest or not - but I don't care what your skin color is; what your sexual orientation is; what gender you are - and just for the record that guy was a **head - which was his right.  But I can still fight for his right to be who he is, just not around him because he is such an unbelievably self-centered jerk.

    Parent

    Back when men worked (none / 0) (#110)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 12:15:21 PM EST
    and women stayed home to raise the kids, it might have made sense for the state to give tax breaks to married people. Today, tax breaks for having kids might be more justifiable, unless you want to discourage rampant population growth, of course.

    But of all the benefits straight married couples have that are denied to gays and lesbians, the marriage tax break is the least of my concerns. One of my top needs is that my partner be legally recognized by the government so that if I should die, no one in my family of origin can attempt to separate my kids from their other parent, or vice versa if I'm the surviving parent. You can write all the wills and advance directives you want, but once you're dead it can all be contested in court.

    Another big disadvantage for same sex couples is the additional taxes we incur, above and beyond what single people pay. In particular, the taxes on putting your same-sex spouse on the deed to your house are particularly nonsensical. Single people aren't adding friends willy nilly to their property deeds. But same-sex couples are likely to do so, especially if they have children. Speaking of kids, another huge federal bias against LGBT families is that in spite of the fact that they have taken legal and financial responsibility for their children, including being at risk for custody and child support lawsuits and even negligence lawsuits if their kids hurt someone, they are denied both federal social security benefits and private retirement benefits on behalf of those children. That means my non-biological kids can't receive my social security retirement or even child disability payments if their parent becomes disabled. Straight families even receive extra money for their kids from SSA if the parent becomes disabled. Federal limitations on private retirement packages ensure that my family can't receive my retirement package if I die, but instead only a small subset of the package as beneficiaries, and they're taxed on that lump sum. That makes a million dollar retirement package worth about a tenth of it's value, while kids of straight married parents receive the full amount. I've paid for that retirement package, but I can't give it to my family because I'm not in a heterosexual marriage.

    Then there's the thousand or plus other benefits of marriage that affect healthcare, travel, etc.

    Thanks for sticking with the discussion. We need supporters like you.


    Parent

    I have a very high awareness of (none / 0) (#115)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 05:43:05 PM EST
    all of these issues because I was "married" unofficially for a number of years in a foreign country to an expat from yet another foreign country.  It made my head spin just trying to figure out which government should marry us; how to deal with the immigration issues in three countries and what would happen if it did not work out.  In the end the "marriage" failed but there are several issues relating to how intertwined our lives were that are as yet unresolved several years since I left.  Not that the deal in the foreign country we were living in for me as the woman would have been even remotely good in their divorce court... but maybe some of the property issues would have been easier to deal with.  I don't know.  It is a fairly mysogenistic culture also prone to a certain amount of corruption so... ya know...

    Anyhow, I worried about all of those things you cite - if he suddenly died, my position there was actually quite tenuous - so I actually do have a fairly good understanding of the challenges presented by not being allowed to marry a partner and all of the rights that one is denied as a result.  It is a precarious position - insecure.  Not good at all.

    Parent

    Because the government has an interest (none / 0) (#107)
    by masslib on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 06:26:58 AM EST
    in promoting marriage.  I see nothing wrong with that.  I just believe in marriage equality.

    Parent
    What interest would that be? (none / 0) (#112)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 12:32:20 PM EST
    Keeping divorce court open?  The Las Vegas wedding chapel businesses?  I am sorry to be flip, but I am not entirely convinced that the government should or does have a valid interest in promoting marriage.

    Parent
    I think the answer is: conservatives. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Fabian on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:48:37 PM EST
    We give tax breaks to homeowners because we want to encourage home ownership.  We give breaks to married people because we want to encourage marriage.  

    Parent
    Good `ole bipartisan solutions for our problems (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 02:08:31 PM EST
    W. Scott Simpson is one of the three Obama Justice Department attorneys who wrote and filed the anti-gay DOMA brief. Simpson is a Mormon who was given an award by Alberto Gonzales for his defense of the Partial Birth Abortion Act.

    That explains why the brief was so filled with bigoted religious right talking points such as comparing gay marriage to incest and pederasty. Obama just let a Mormon Bush holdover create his public position on DOMA with the courts.

    Perhaps when Obama lets W. Scott Simpson write the brief in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade Democrats will finally stand up to Obama's version of bipartisanship that continually sells out Democratic values.

    Wow, that's really depressing to (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 02:58:04 PM EST
    find out.  

    At some point, doesn't it have to be asked why Obama has not replaced these people - assuming he's not a career DOJ employee - and whether what we are seeing is simply representative of what Obama really believes?

    I try not to think about how things might be different if people had only allowed themselves not to make excuses for the Rev. Wright association and the McClurkin association, the Rick Warren association, the "sweeties" and the sexism, and to question the disconnect between all of that and what Obama regularly waxed poetic about in campaign speeches.  I'm sure there is someone who thinks that means I am wishing McCain had been elected, but that's not even close to being true.

    Wonder where the dividing line is between "pol" and "flat-out phony?"  

    Parent

    Betrayal (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 04:17:54 PM EST
    the books when he took office. Now, during LGBT Pride month and on the 42nd anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that make it illegal for states to prohibit marriage between people of different races, our constitutional law professor president called DOMA "abhorrent" has betrayed not just LGBT citizens but our Democratic Party and our progressive agenda.

    I don't hold much hope for a politician like Obama who is willing to sacrifice human rights for political expediency. But my biggest disappointment comes from progressives who refuse to see the links between their lack of support for gay rights and the right wing's death grip on our government. Obama's anti-gay argument will reverberate for years to come. This DOJ brief will be cited by Republicans in the same way they used Obama's anti-marriage comments to lobby for CA's Prop 8. Now they've got a Democratic administration's legal arguments in their arsenal. There are long term consequences to the brief itself. Our entire progressive agenda will pay the price of this betrayal of those seeking human rights.


    Parent

    Welcome to "under the bus" (none / 0) (#90)
    by jbindc on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 04:23:25 PM EST
    It's a pretty large and diverse group down here, although at the newest additions, you're gonna be responsible for providing the drinks.

    Parent
    Heh, (5.00 / 0) (#93)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 05:12:44 PM EST
    We've been under the bus since he invited Donnie McClurkin and Rick Warren climb on board.

    Obama has until June 29th to make his final decision to either go with Holder's brief or flip flop back and instruct his DoJ to join GLAD in this historic lawsuit. Or I should say that progressives have until June 29th to demand Obama support human rights.

    Or they can just go merrily along as the good Americans they are, many of whom tell themselves they have completely accepted the gays next door, but, marriage? Well that's asking for too much, isn't it?

    Parent

    Honestly (none / 0) (#94)
    by jbindc on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 05:20:22 PM EST
    I think it's that people aren't paying attention to stuff like this.  It's summer, the kids are out of school, and if they aren't planning a vacation, many Americans are worried about paying the mortgage or putting food on the table, or if they are going to lose their jobs.  Especially after the never-ending presidential campaign we had over the last two years, I don't think many people are paying attention to these kinds of things. It's unfortunate, but most people don't understand, nor do they care, all this legal and political wrangling, and only understand and respond to soundbites on the news.  Since this topic requires more than 5 words to explain, and since most people are not personally invested in the outcome, this is the kind of thing that will go in one ear and out the other - if it even gets reported in the mainstream media.  

    Parent
    Well that's too bad because (none / 0) (#96)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 08:25:11 PM EST
    stuff like this is a godsend to the Republicans in 2010 and beyond.

    I hope Obama's suck-up to the right wing compensates for the betrayal of a big chunk of his supporters. Wingers wouldn't have hated him any more if he'd done the right thing and stuck to his word. He does no favors for Democrats by deserting the Constitution and alienating those who rely on our party to support human rights. Something tells me that our Democrats in purple states aren't going to get the money or the votes they need to stay in office next year.

    Obama's big agenda? He's flushing it right down the toilet.


    Parent

    Heh, heh ... (none / 0) (#91)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 04:56:55 PM EST
    Make mine a double.

    Parent
    Heh, heh ... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 04:57:08 PM EST
    Make mine a double.

    Parent
    In the beginning (5.00 / 0) (#100)
    by glennmcgahee on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:39:17 AM EST
    of Obama's campaign, my partner and I witnessed his appearances in several African American churches throughout the South. They featured the most homophobic language and "jesus saving us from the queers" stuff that we were appalled and wondered how any gay or lesbian person could support this guy. We screamed and screamed about it. Yet, people knew about McClurkin and ignored it. They still are. Obama has expanded Bush's Faith Based Initiatives and has cut money for AIDS prevention and education. I'm giving up here. Bush got elected because people would rather have a beer with him. Obama could give a good speech, even if you had heard the same words from somebody else before. They worshiped at his feet and some still are. This country has become pathetic. I blame the Democrat Party and the stupid youth of America, promise rings and all.

    One of Bill Clinton's (none / 0) (#2)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:32:40 PM EST
    less proud moments

    And now endemic among Dems (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by Cream City on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:36:58 PM EST
    it seems.  But then, I could not see how gay activists could not hear the equivocations of  Obama.2008 and could believe that they would have the support of Obama.2009.

    Please remind us of the promises that have been kept.

    Parent

    I don't remember any promises (none / 0) (#4)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:39:03 PM EST
    regarding DOMA, sad to say

    Parent
    You are wrong (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:51:19 PM EST
    and if you read the CBS News article I linked to in the first paragraph, you would have read he promised it in his own campaign position paper:

    As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama claimed "we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act," which says states are not required to recognize other states' same-sex marriages.


    Parent
    Sorry Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:06:20 PM EST
    I missed that.  All the more sadder.  

    Parent
    no problem (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:16:02 PM EST
    I was just pointing it out. I'm also searching Lexis for the times he said it on the campaign trail, but it's having trouble loading for some reason.

    Parent
    Not inconsistent at all (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:30:24 PM EST
    "We need to repeal DOMA" (because it is bad policy, unfair, insulting, discriminatory, lacking in any compelling secular purpose, etc.) is not necessarily inconsistent with arguing that the statute is not unconstitutional.  Myself, I happen to think it is unconstitutional, on both Equal Protection (Fifth Amendment: "No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or
    property, without due process of law") and Full Faith & Credit (Art. IV, sec. 1: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State") grounds, but the Dept of Justice is duty-bound to defend in court, if it can, the constitutionality of any statute duly passed by Congress.  It is not supposed to defend only those statutes that the President favors.  By the way, favoring the repeal of DOMA is also not inconsistent with opposing gay marriage (which I think is Obama's claimed personal position).  If you take a state's rights view -- which again, I don't, but just sayin' -- then the federal government should give equal recognition to all valid marriages, whether you like the idea of those marriages or not.  And marriages are "valid" if authorized by the state law where the marriage was entered into.  Some states allow first cousins to marry, for example, while most other states don't; some states allow 15-year-olds to marry, while most don't.  But the federal tax and social security laws recognize all of those marriages equally, as they should.  

    Parent
    Excellent analysis Has there (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 06:34:48 AM EST
    been a Full Faith and Credit challenge as yet?

    Parent
    Sounds full of common sense to me (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 07:48:22 AM EST
    that's not the point (5.00 / 4) (#71)
    by fiver2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:17:42 AM EST
    He could have filed a brief asking the court to uphold DOMA that did not make the foul and offensive arguments that he made yesterday.  He could have focused on standing, for example.  He could have argued some so-called need for federal uniformity without claiming that it is constitutional to deprive some families of Social Security and other benefits solely for a cost-saving purpose.  The Bush administration couldn't have done (and didn't do) a more vicious job in trying to defend DOMA.  The problem here is that he made such offensive arguments, such as comparing marriages of same-sex couples to incest, and not that he defended DOMA.

    Parent
    Check out this link, (none / 0) (#5)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:46:17 PM EST
    Refresh my memory please (none / 0) (#8)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:51:56 PM EST
    Unlike Senator Clinton

    Where did she stand on it? I thought she was more comfortable with gay rights than he was?

    Parent

    Clinton wanted to repeal one specific clause (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 07:58:52 PM EST
    of DOMA, that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

    I never really thought either one would repeal DOMA, it has too much support in the House and Senate.

    She was viewed as better on gay rights (at least by me) because she didn't go around hosting anti gay rallies.

    Parent

    What I wanted from both of them (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 08:03:53 PM EST
    was the appointment of judges who would overturn DOMA, etc, and a friendly Federal government. We might have the former, but today proves that we sure don't have the latter.

    Parent
    Well (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by Steve M on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:17:14 PM EST
    that's the only clause of DOMA with any actual legal effect, so I wouldn't minimize it.

    Parent
    In Philly, she interviewed w/ the local gay paper (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by lambert on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 08:38:46 AM EST
    On the contrary (none / 0) (#108)
    by sj on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 10:44:42 AM EST
    She has participated in Gay Pride marches

    Parent
    you don't need to look at where she stood then (5.00 / 6) (#73)
    by fiver2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:38:27 AM EST
    to compare them now.

    Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department has narrowly construed DOMA and extended a panoply of benefits and recognition to the same-sex partners of foreign service workers.  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/us/24benefit.html

    Her statement re: Pride Month was vastly superior to the one Obama issued a few days later.  http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/06/124176.htm

    Under her leadership, the State Department has condemned anti-gay violence in Iraq.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/US-condemns-anti-gay-violence-in-Iraq/articleshow/4642419.c ms  Never heard about that until she entered office, did we?

    We haven't seen Obama move on anything LGBT-related, as far as I know.  As simply one example, while it might be understandable to wait a year or two to act on Don't Ask Don't Tell, why hasn't he suspended terminations while "studying" the issue?  Why are servicemembers still being fired -- with 247 discharges since Obama was sworn in?

    We don't need Congress to act for Obama to take care of many of his promises during the campaign.  It's clear that he's decided that the LGBT community is not a priority.

    This doesn't come as a surprise, of course.  It's precisely why I voted for Hillary.

    Parent

    forgot the link for the military discharges (none / 0) (#74)
    by fiver2 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:39:15 AM EST
    At Least Bill Clinton Tried (5.00 / 7) (#22)
    by Blue Jean on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:21:33 PM EST
    to expand gay rights.  I've yet to see Obama even try do anything significant to help gays, beyond some words.  If anything, he's actively embraced homophobic speakers in the name of "bipartisanship".

    Parent
    A pretty poor way (none / 0) (#46)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:19:13 PM EST
    to expand gay rights

    Parent
    huh? (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:14:38 PM EST
    Do you remember the environment of Gay Rights 16 years ago?

    At least Clinton fought and spoke out for the rights - and did NOT order his DOJ to fight AGAINST Gay Rights.

    WOW - it's like our current President is in a time machine trying to take us back BEFORE 16 years ago...

    How about defending that.

    Parent

    How about (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 09:51:13 PM EST
    looking up the history of DADT, and finding out what gay people had BEFORE DADT.

    Prior to DADT, gays were completely banned from the military.  Clinton promised during his campaign to allow openly gay individuals to serve in the military and attempted to make good on that promise once elected. DADT was the lame compromise, after the military pushed back severely, with the help of Sam Nunn....Sam Nunn who endorsed Obama in April 2008.

    Parent

    1993 (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:06:07 PM EST
    that was almost a generation ago.

    Clinton campaigned saying he would change the Military's policy against gays serving in the military... and he did do something.

    Prior to DADT anyone suspected of homosexuality could be investigated and discharged without recourse.

    Keep in mind, Clinton didn't exactly have a super-majority in the Congress either like we have now.


    Parent

    answer the issues (none / 0) (#70)
    by diogenes on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:09:41 AM EST
     Why not write precise laws in the legislature instead of relying on the courts and whether or not to "fight the case" on DOJ's part?  After all, Democrats control Congress and most states.

    Fierce Advocate? (none / 0) (#87)
    by ericinatl on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 03:00:21 PM EST
    With such a "fierce advocate" for gay rights producing such germane arguments as likening homosexuality to incest (as was done in this draft), I can't imagine what the administration would be calling the gays if Obama really hated us.

    His "trust me" I really like you mantra but will deliver you jack sh*t is getting really tired.